Mariachis pay emotional tribute to victims of Uvalde school shooting

Still reeling from the senseless school slaying of 19 children and two teachers, residents of Uvalde, Texas were comforted Wednesday by mariachis, some of whom traveled long distances to share the town’s grief.

At one point, onlookers were seen wiping away tears as the musicians performed “Amor Eterno,” a ballad about grief that is often played at Hispanic funerals.

“How I wished that you lived,” says the chorus of the song, which was also used to honor the victims of the El Paso Walmart mass shooting in 2019, reported NPR. “That your little eyes had never closed and that I could be looking at them.”

“Eternal love — unforgettable. Sooner or later, I’ll be with you to keep loving you,” the song continues.

“Everybody was crying. There was not a dry eye,” said Cruz Ortiz, who organized the performance.

Mariachi bands play at a memorial dedicated to the 19 children and two adults killed at Robb Elementary School.
James Keivom for NY Post

In the days after the bloodshed in Uvalde, the San Antonio artist called his mariachi friend to organize the tribute.

“I got on my phone and my friend said, ‘I have mariachis who have been calling me wanting to do something,’” said Ortiz.

Within hours, multiple groups of mariachi signed on to travel to Uvalde from San Antonio. About 40 musicians from San Antonio rode a charter bus to get to the community, about two hours away.

The musicians played the emotional ballad “Amor Eterno” during the tribute.
James Keivom for NY Post

To their surprise, about 20 additional musicians from neighboring towns heard about what they were doing and showed up on their own to the Uvalde town square across from the county courthouse that has been serving as a gathering point and memorial since the shooting. A memorial with 21 crosses, one for each of the victims, is at the town square.

“One of the mariachis gave a head coach speech to the mariachis saying, ‘This is what we made for. We are there when they are birthed. We celebrate their birthdays. We celebrate their communions and their weddings, and we also celebrate and honor them at their funerals,’” Cruz told The Post on Thursday.

Among the mariachis performing for residents was 7-year-old Mateo Lopez, who is about the same age as many of the victims. Ortiz says the little mariachi sang to the grandparents of one of the victims.

Mateo Lopez, 7, was among the performers in the touching tribute.
James Keivom for NY Post

Uvalde is a largely Hispanic community, where many residents speak Spanish and hold Hispanic traditions close to their hearts. Knowing the role mariachi music plays for many Hispanics, Ortiz hopes the musical tribute is a small way to show solidarity with the families of the dead.

“This is part of our healing process,” said Ortiz. “We’re Tejanos. We’re not just Mexican-Americans. We’re Tejanos and this is part of our grieving process. This is what we do.”

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